Published: 1 July, 2022

Quality Content – The Problem with Fund Managers

Firms in our sector produce a lot of content – it comes with the territory. But much of the marketing content in the asset management sector is poor.

It’s either too dull to attract any attention, let alone action, or so conceited and ‘clever’ that it has no relevance to the product or service it’s supposed to be promoting.

Don’t fall into this trap. You must produce good content – and to do this you need to embrace your inner writer.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should become the next Ernest Hemingway. Actually, your ambition should be to be like the gentleman here – David Ogilvy.

Often described as the ‘Father of Advertising’, Ogilvy was a copywriter who founded a multinational advertising agency that represented some of the world’s biggest firms – from Guinness to Rolls Royce. And Ogilvy understood better than anyone – before or since – how to connect with an audience and encourage people to act.

Here’s a few things plucked from the Ogilvy playbook that you can do to improve the quality of your content and your connection with your audience:

Keep it simple

Nothing harms a piece of content more, particularly when its intention is to persuade, than overcomplicated language.

And this is a particular problem in the financial sector, where some marketers seem to think that the longer and more complicated a piece of content is – the better it will perform.

Not true – quite the opposite in fact. Overly complicated content is dangerous, as if it doesn’t make sense, or it fails to hold the reader’s attention, they’ll quickly look for something more interesting to do.

And one of the biggest culprits in this regard is long words. The easiest way to communicate an idea is to use the shortest words possible, so don’t be fooled into thinking that long words will somehow make you look clever and improve your content. It won’t, so always look to replace long words with shorter alternatives.

You should also try and cut out long sentences and paragraphs. Tests show the easiest sentence to read and understand is eight words long. A sensible average is 16 words. Any sentence of more than 32 words is hard to take in, as people forget what’s been said at the beginning by the time they get to the end.

Look at what works

As a marketer, you should adopt a light-fingered approach as part of your content marketing strategy.

Instead of racking your brains to think of a clever article, or to write a killer email – just analyse what your competition are doing. Look at similar content and work out how their marketing copy is persuading people to invest.

Then adapt it.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t act on your own ideas. But have a good rummage through other people’s first, as it’s far better to base your copy on what has been proven to work, than what you think might work.

Obviously you can’t copy it word for word – that would be illegal and also counter-productive, because you need it to be specific to you. But there’s nothing wrong with adapting the concept of the good stuff out there – just make sure you do it better.

Have a plan

As with most things in business, a plan will prevent a lot of problems when it comes to content writing and distribution.

Draw up a content plan that looks as far as 12 months in advance and maps out the themes, events, and product launches that you want to cover. It doesn’t need to focus on particular mediums, but rather what you are going to talk about across all channels, as you should first think about what you want to say to your audience and when. You can break it down into what channel to use nearer the time.

Always think about your audience

David Ogilvy once said that “You can’t save souls in an empty church.”

He meant you can’t convince people of anything if they’re not listening. That may seem obvious, but time, money and effort are often poured into creating content that appeals to few amongst its intended audience. Too many firms have an inward-looking attitude that says ‘we want to get this out there’, rather than ‘our audience wants to read this’.

Think of yourself as a publisher – as publishers live and die by the popularity of their product. They must be thinking every day of what will appeal to an audience and they have to get it right more often than wrong to survive.

You should adopt the same mentality, as it’s not good enough to churn out content for the sake of it. With each piece, be it a 10,000-word white paper or a 100-word tweet – you need to know that it appeals to and can help your target market.


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